While we are on the subject of Korean beauty products, there are still a couple of other noteworthy brands that I would like to put the spotlight on, one of which is HERA. Now, most of you Hallyu enthusiasts would have already heard of this brand by now – even though it is not available in Singapore – through their ambassador Jun Ji Hyun as she had famously worn two lipsticks from HERA in her latest hit drama Legend of the Blue Sea. But I know not everyone is into the Korean Wave, so read on for a quick introduction on the brand.
Founded in 1995 by AmorePacific (the same company behind Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Innisfree, Etude House and IOPE), HERA is currently touted as one of the leading Korean beauty brands in the world for both men and women despite only having physical presence in their home country and recently, China. Even before I set foot in Seoul last year, I had heard plenty of talk about the brand. But as mentioned previously, I am not one who would buy into the hype of Korean make-up brands (especially since new ones seem to be popping up every moment – ain’t nobody got money for dat!) so my decision to slap new make-up on my face typically boils down to the visual presentation of the products themselves. It’s sad but true – first impression counts, so only brands that invest in their packaging deserve my money.
And HERA is certainly one I would splurge my money on despite their products being as expensive as some high-end brands around.
Unlike typical one-tone lipsticks, the Sensual Rouge series are said to deliver an exquisite blend of two colors and a moist finish. Available in 8 shades, they come in slim and long rectangular glossy plastic (yet rather sturdy) tubes that are perfect for on-the-go use. A sleek and clean appearance with touch of elegance and trendiness, it goes without saying that HERA had gotten me hooked to their packaging the very moment I spotted them at Lotte Department Store! Go ahead and pack along multiple shades of these Sensual Rouge lipsticks on your next trip if you feel like wearing a different lipstick shade for everyday of your vacation – these lipsticks do not take up much space in your make-up bag even when boxed up.
Furthermore, you don’t have to keep track of the shelf life of these lipsticks because the expiration dates are stated on the bottom label. But then again, the clear-cut expiration dates may not necessarily be a good thing for makeup hoarders who are unwilling to toss their past-it lipsticks *guilty*
Not only is the packaging en pointe, a lot of thought had been put into naming the shades as well. All these just make me wonder why HERA isn’t expanding as much outside South Korea as their sister brand Laneige. They are clearly ready to take over the international beauty scene! Oh, you selfish Koreans.. Only want the best for yourselves, eh? 😏
#132 Rustic Garden
To be fair to lipstick brands I am trying for the first time, I would usually pick out hues on both ends of the darkness spectrum for a more balanced review. Based on the shade number, Rustic Garden is the lightest shade in the Sensual Rouge line and it is mainly an amalgam of muted rosy-pink in the middle and a darker warm-toned pink (as opposed to the colours depicted on the box which look cooler and browner than warm to me) on each side of the bullet.
The oily formula enables it to glide smoothly on the lips but some product can be seen settling into my lip lines. Barely noticeable on the first application because it is so close to my natural lip colour, I have to run this lipstick over my lips several times before I can finally see some contrast. It is emollient, hydrating and feels lightweight and the glossy sheen gives the soft colours an extra pop!
#200 Morning Fever
In view of my impending entrance into the workforce then, I had been keeping a lookout for multi-tone lipsticks with shades that are unusual yet not over the top and are suitable for everyday wear. Ticking all the right boxes is Morning Fever – one with muted red as its primary colour and pale orange as the accent colour.
It goes on buttery and sheer on first application but builds to a semi-opaque finish. It has more slip than Rustic Garden and feels lightweight and supple on the lips, but leaves an oily film which lends that natural sheen. I would prefer the orange to be slightly more prominent because currently, the blend is so seamless than unless you see it under proper lighting the contrast is hardly visible at all. Nonetheless, it is a very flattering shade which gives the lips a healthy glow.
#451 I’m Not A Mama
Last but not least is I’m Not A Mama, the darkest and perhaps most pigmented of the octet and also one that is more in line with what I would normally wear. But lo and behold, probably because I’m more of a seasoned dark lipstick fiend, I find myself having more negative things to talk about for this shade.
Featuring a reassuring blend of cool copper and a deepened claret (in between brown and purple – a combination I knew would complement each other perfectly) on the bullet, this lipstick disappointingly applies as a muted burnt orange altogether on my lips and thereby blurring the contrast of the colours (which defeats the purpose of the multi-tone function since any regular lipsticks can do the job). In fact, if you were to look very closely, the deeper hue appears a lot lighter than the primary colour when applied on the lips 🤔 Although the most opaque among the three reviewed here, it is still mostly sheer by normal standards and has to be layered to decent opacity – a characteristic quite typical of Korean makeup products as the Koreans tend to place more emphasis on achieving a more youthful, natural and dewy look.
Application-wise, it is equally greasy and has more slip than the other two but feels tackier. On top of that, it has a runny and weightless texture that glides on easily, leaving the lips feeling moisturised and refreshed. All in all, it is a pleasant shade and I would have rated it better if not for the barely visible colour contrast. Pity!
On the whole, I would say that the Sensual Rouge line is alright in quality but nothing to write home about. For sure, much still needs to be done to the accuracy of the information on the packaging because I find the shades depicted on it very deceiving and absolutely inaccurate as you can see. Do swatch (if possible) before buying or you will be in for a surprise.
So should you get these? Depending on your preference, you may enjoy them if you don’t mind opting for a softer look. But if you are all for a more defined and mature make-up look, this (or K-beauty in general) is certainly not for you.
What are your thoughts on these multi-tone lipsticks? Are they effective in creating ombré lip looks or are they just plain marketing gimmicks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂
Thanks for reading!